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Executing the Financial Process Using Cloud Computing Cuts Costs, Says CFO Survey

Having a greater amount of financial processes executed using cloud computing can substantially reduce costs and lower man hours, according to a recent CFO survey conducted by corporate billing services provider Bill.com

Having a greater amount of financial processes executed using cloud computing can substantially reduce costs and lower man hours, according to a recent CFO survey conducted by corporate billing services provider Bill.com.

Survey methods

The poll, which involved more than 350 of these top finance officials, indicated that substantial benefits can be realized by adopting the use of cloud computing. Although this technology is gathering visibility, managers running finance departments are switching to it more slowly than people in other business areas.

This poll was one of the first to probe how CFOs feel about cloud computing - how they perceive the technology, if they plan to use it and what they predict the costs and benefits will be for using this method for various tasks including cash flow, accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Survey findings

CFOs are aware of the shift that various departments are making toward using the cloud, but not many of these top finance officials are aware that these types of processes can be handled using the technology.

The top finance officials that have started using cloud computing for these tasks identified that generating benefits in terms of more time and reduced costs is a major draw. Around two-thirds, or 65.2 percent of survey participants, stated that the ability to cut expenses and also man hours would attract them to the use of cloud computing.

Arcane systems 

Even though cloud computing is generating substantial visibility, many CFOs are still working with more traditional use of paper processes and Excel spreadsheets. The problems being created by continued use of these older methodologies is exemplified by forecasting.

When the participants were asked to specify which system they use for predicting future cash flow, 72.9 percent said they still use Excel spreadsheets, 8.5 percent indicated they use an ERP system and 8.3 percent indicated that they do the calculations by themselves. Another 10.3 percent said they do not utilize any applications or other technologies to predict these financial metrics.

Cloud-based tools that assist in managing financial processes are in the process of being created and gaining user buy-in, with those used for cash flow management in particular appearing at a slow rate. CFOs that make use of these tools first will be able to get a leg up on their competitors due to reduced costs, greater efficiency and better efficacy.

"Early adopters who have switched to cloud-based financial systems told Bill.com they have greatly improved both their accounts payable and accounts receivable processes," Rene Lacerte, founder and chief executive officer of Bill.com, said in the statement. "We are gratified to see financial professionals take advantage of all the savings and efficiencies that only the cloud can bring."

CFO frustrations

When these top finance officials were asked to identify their top challenges, 51.1 percent stated their lack of ability to predict results, while 47.4 percent cited their ineptitude when managing cash flow. These figures support the point of view that CFOs could alleviate problems and enjoy myriad benefits that provide them with real-time data on their cash flow.

Better decision making

Another area that could potentially benefit from these finance officials making great use of different tools and cloud computing is decision making. With data that is more helpful and easier to understand, these key staff members could make more-educated decisions for their businesses.

The recent proliferation of Business Intelligence software means that these top finance officials have even more to miss by using arcane methods, and could potentially benefit from increasing their knowledge of cloud-based tools. 

Comments

Dan McCue
Title: SVP, Finance & Accounting Services
Company: Sutherland Global Services
(SVP, Finance & Accounting Services, Sutherland Global Services) |

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You can also find it under "whitepapters" on the Sutherland Global Services page in the Proformative Marketplace. Hope you find this helpful!

Alfredo Alvarado
Title: Director of Business Development
Company: DataBank Imx
(Director of Business Development, DataBank Imx) |

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